Lost HorizonJames Hilton

Published in 1933, Lost Horizon, came at the twilight of the great, grand, adventure books, like  its predecessors, including Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Lost World by Conan Doyle. The tale is an enjoyable fantasy of normal, everyday folks ending up …

flawlessScott Andrew Selby
Greg Campbell

There is something to strangely romantic about large thefts. From Colonel Blood to the Ocean’s movies, we just can’t help but say “Oh, good show.” Perhaps it is the immense amount of planning and sheer brains needed to pull off some of these major heists.  …

Lost Worlds of the Guiana HighlandsStewart McPherson

I’m guessing most viewers of the Pixar  flick  Up were convinced that the surreal, twisted landscape on the top of the mountain where the balloon-house landed were figments of overheated animators’ brains. However, based on the pictures in Lost Worlds of the Guiana Highlands, it is clear that …

Michael Crichton and Richard PrestonMicro

Despite being dead, Michael Crichton has managed to still write quite prolifically. The book, finished posthumously by science writer Richard Preston, has its moments.  The premise is pure old-school Crichton.  An evil tech company owner shrinks down a bunch of science grad students and they …

Catch Me If You CanFrank W. Abagnale

The movie version of Catch Me If You Can is exciting and fast-paced, with plenty of Hollywood glitz that adds a glossy veneer, making many of Frank Abagnale’s exploits seem fake and overblown.  While enjoyable, the movie doesn’t begin to compare to Abagnale’s descriptions of his short …

Travels in SiberiaIan Frazier

Frazier’s dense and fascinating look at Siberia from seven trips over two decades makes a nowhere place into somewhere.  Most often associated with gulag camps and cold, Siberia is as as vast and varied hunk of land as the US.  Starting with his early fascination with the country, …

101 Places NOT to See Before You DieCatherine Price

I was a bit disappointed that many of the places Price lists are related to a personal anecdote (albeit hilarious), don’t really exist (hell) or you would not be able to experience yourself (being a bull at the running of the bulls). However, there are plenty of doozies …

Star IslandCarl Hiaasen

Hiaasen’s newest title, Star Island, is by far my favorite since Skinny Dip. Using the trite and oft-seen story of a starlet going off the rails, Hiaasen drags Cherry Pye, a mediocre singer filled with blind ambition, had her double Ann, into the psychotic world of …

The Last King of ScotlandGiles Foden

I was sad to discover that The Last King Of Scotland is a piece of fiction. Read it anyway. The plot is so unbelievable as to be highly believable. Picking up speed as the madness of dictator Idi Amin spins out, young Dr. Nicholas Garrigan is drawn into …

American ShaolinMatt Polly

Chinese kung-fu is one of the most glorious examples of obsessive-compulsive behavior in the history of human culture.

There is a certain type of person who needs something to hang onto, make their own and Focus On (yes, with caps). For some reason, martial arts (and religion) seem …

The PyratesGeorge McDonald Fraser

Rivaling Terry Pratchett for the king of humorous writing, George McDonald Fraser creates a fictional vision of the pirate life lifted directly from Treasure Island and Basil Rathbone movies with touches of slap-stick (if fruitcart then chase scene). Fraser’s pirates are walking, talking, larger-than-life pirate stereotypes. …

Off the Tourist TrailEyewitness Travel

This is SUCH a dangerous book if you like to travel. Here are a thousand alternative trips and places to visit off the standard tourist trail. Usually less expensive than the big names, much less-visited and often harder to get to, these destinations are so very tempting. Find …